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Willis Re, European disposals to close Aon-Willis deal confirmed by EC

Aon Willis Towers Watson European Commission.jpg

Willis Re and a block of four Continental European businesses will likely be sold as part of the proposed remedies to secure approval from the European Commission (EC) for the Aon-Willis deal, according to documentation sent out by the EC.

Sources said that the market testing documentation showed that Aon and Willis propose selling Willis Re (treaty and fac) and the combined French, German, Dutch and Spanish P&C businesses, excluding affinity, to address antitrust concerns.

There are no further material-sized disposals, according to sources, within the insurance broking businesses.

Contrary to some prior speculation, there is no indication in the EC documentation on which companies Aon intends to sell the assets to.

The new information largely confirms prior reporting from this publication.

Earlier today the European Commission published a notice on its website indicating that Aon and Willis had proposed remedies to secure approval for the deal in the face of antitrust concerns.

The EC's notice confirms the restarting of the clock which was stopped on 9 February to allow the parties time to work on remedies and gather information.

Based on the standard timelines which provide a fixed number of days for a Phase II review, the process must now conclude by 12 July at the latest – although it could be brought to a close sooner.

With the formal process restarted following the submission of proposed remedies, the EC has now followed established procedure and sent out a document to market test the disposals.

The document has gone to both clients and competitors, and responses will be considered ahead of the EC's final decision on whether to approve the transaction.

This publication revealed last month that Willis Towers Watson has contacted potential acquirers for its ~EUR750mn-revenue French, German, Spanish and Dutch businesses as it explores possible sales.

And earlier this month, this publication broke the news that Willis Towers Watson is looking to sell Willis Re, including both its $700mn treaty business and $300mn facultative unit, to secure regulatory approval for its takeover by Aon.

Aon and Willis declined to comment.

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